Valle Crucis' Waters wins county spelling bee
by Sarah Ann Schultz
Spelling D-E-O-D-O-R-A-N-T was no sweat for Mac Waters on Friday.
Watauga County Schools hosted the county-wide spelling bee at the Board of Education's office at 9 a.m. Friday. Waters won the bee by correctly spelling "deodorant" in the 10th round.
The bee included the school winners from Bethel Elementary, Blowing Rock Elementary, Hardin Park Elementary, Mabel Elementary, Parkway Elementary and Valle Crucis Elementary. The contestants ranged from fourth to eighth grade.
"It's one of my favorite events every year," said David Fonseca, interim superintendent of Watauga County Schools. "It brings the community together."
Stephen Martin, Watauga County's director of human resources, was the pronouncer for the bee. Judges included Dan Meyer of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, Bethel Elementary teacher Darcy Grimes and Ron Henries of the Board of Education.
Eighth-grader Waters from Valle Crucis Elementary won the bee after the other seven contestants were eliminated over the course of 10 rounds. Second place went to Taylor Greene, a sixth-grader at Cove Creek Elementary. Greene was eliminated after misspelling "efficient."
This was Waters' first time competing in a county spelling bee. He lost last year's bee at Valle Crucis Elementary by misspelling the word "blatant." Waters has been studying hard to prepare for this year's bee.
"I am totally, just absolutely flustered," Waters said. "I definitely think the studying paid off."
Waters will go on to compete in the Winston-Salem Journal Regional Spelling Bee in March. He's already started looking at what he needs to study and plans to concentrate on studying hard until then.
"Four months to go," Waters said, "And that's a lot of words to learn."
All of the participants were given gift certificates to Walmart from Yadkin Bank, one of the sponsors of the bee. They were also given a packet for their families that included passes to Mystery Hill, Appalachian Ski Mountain, Doc's Rocks Gem Mine, Grandfather Mountain and Tweetsie Railroad.
The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce also sponsors the bee.
"We just want to support education education in any way that we can so that our young people can not only be good employees but also employers and entrepreneurs some day," said Meyer, chamber president and a judge at this year's bee.
Fonseca mentioned both in the opening and closing of the event how proud he was of the students involved.
"I don't know how they do it," Fonseca said after the bee. "We are so proud of all of them."
And that's spelled P-R-O-U-D.